Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Most Satisfactory Birthday


Photo: U.S. troops leaving Iraq


Perhaps in some respects my life has not been quite the same as others. I have always had a feeling that I was doing what I wished to do, but a certain knowledge that I never did anything I chose to do. I have always had an ambition for freedom, but I know that I never had the slightest influence over myself. I am sure that I have everlastingly been controlled by the influences before me and the infinite influences around me, and that I have never known what freedom is. I keep on working for it and hoping for it and wanting it, but I know that I never shall have it. In this, no doubt, my life has been like the life of every being that ever lived.

Clarence Darrow, on the occasion of his 61st birthday

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Written 19 August, 2010


A Most Satisfactory Birthday

The clock has just ticked to a new day, and my birthday is officially over.

It was a most satisfactory birthday.

Unlike, oh, say, Clarence Darrow, I don't have anything witty or pithy to say on my birthday, so I'll just describe my day.

It started with me driving Sweetie to work and then ducking next door to a bagel shop and buying her a breakfast sandwich. I surprised her by including the tender heart of a cinnamon bun (I ate the quickly-becoming-stale outer section.

Back at Sweetie's house I logged into Second Life. We were out of sodas, so I poured myself a glass of orange juice.

I don't drink much, but it occurred to me that since it was my birthday it just made sense to spike it with the Ketel 1 vodka I had spied in her cabinet.

That straightaway led to me heading to bed for a delicious two-hour nap. The flight the day before had pretty much wiped me out, and the extra two hours revived me.

When I awoke I made lunch and then spent most of the afternoon working out a scripting problem. I have K&R texture organizers, and I love them, but they rez facing whatever direction I last had them. That almost always turns out to be an unfortunate direction, and I have to turn them about before I can use them.

So, using fuctions from the Scratch LSL generator, I wrote a script that would cause the organizers to turn and face me when rezzed. But getting it to actually work was eluding me.

I finally nailed it and left to pick Sweetie up from work.

We had made plans to go out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that features a delicious hot pot. As we approached and I saw a flyer sticking in the door, I said, "This doesn't bode well." And sure enough, the restaurant was closed. There were threats of it eventually reopening with a new (and probably non hot pot) menu.

There's a restaurant just down the street that had intrigued us both. Driving past, we had imagined it ridiculously expensive, but as it happens I had Googled it and read the menu. I suggested we eat there, and we did, and it was wonderful.

Panko Crusted Brie Spring fruit preserve, herbed crostinis.9

When Sweetie and I dine out, we share our appetizers and entrees. Today was no exception. We started with a panko-encrusted brie, which was served with chopped tomatoes and red peppers a raspberry-strawberry jelly, and mixed greens.

Poached Pear Salad
Poached in port wine, mesclun greens, spiced walnuts, gorgonzola, red onions, sherry maple vinaigrette .11

We followed this culinary delight with a brazed pear-and-walnut salad, more yums.

Paella Valenciana
Classic spanish rice dish of chorizo, chicken, pork, clams, mussels, shrimp, peas, saffron, stewed slowly in a paellera .26

Our entree was a huge pot of paella, chock-full of chorizo and chicken and pork and shrimp and mussels and clams. It was far too much food to eat, so we took more than half of it home.

So I got my hot pot after all!

Sated and happy with food, and ideas of all the silly robots we could make in Second Life (our main topic of conversation for the evening), we stopped on the way home to stock up on groceries. We quickly realized that was a mistake, for boy, were we tired!

When we got home I had a telephone conference call with my co-author (and friend) about a book chapter we're doing. Then Sweetie and I lay in bed watching video of the last U.S. combat troops leaving Iraq.

So yes, it was a most satisfactory birthday!

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